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Munroe Fights To Stop Gibson Trial

Former Labour and National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson.

Former Labour and National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

LAWYERS for Shane Gibson yesterday filed a notice of motion alleging, among other things, witness coaching and overarching collusion between various police and prosecution units.

The three-page motion, filed in the Supreme Court yesterday afternoon, declared that impermissible witness training and coaching has taken place among the Anti-Corruption and Central Detective Units of the Royal Bahamas Police Force; the Director of Public Prosecution Garvin Gaskin and his office; the attorney for Jonathan Ash, Alecia Bowe and interviewing officer Assistant Superintendent of Police Deborah Thompson.

The motion also declared that in these circumstances, Gibson would be unable to receive a fair trial as guaranteed by Article 20(1) of the Constitution, and that he has been denied his right to adequate facilities for the preparation of his trial defence guaranteed by Article 20(2) (c) of the Constitution.

Additionally, the motion requested damages for the breach of the applicant’s constitutional rights, orders quashing the voluntary bill of indictment filed in the matter and a stay of the same, in reliance on the Constitution and in reliance on the common law, power to stay proceedings where there has been an abuse of process or an abuse of power by the prosecution.

Lastly, the motion requested costs for the filing.

The document was submitted shortly after Gibson’s legal team was implored to file it by Chief Justice Stephen Isaacs, following a dispute between the lawyers for the accused and the prosecution over the need to turn over various documents in the lead up to trial.

Wayne Munroe, QC, one of the lawyers on Gibson’s team, yesterday told The Tribune that all documents being requested by his side fall into the category of “serviceable and important” documents.

Gibson’s team has requested the case diary, which documents the circumstances by which two of the prosecution’s lead witnesses were contacted and interviewed; the immunity agreements given to those two witnesses, in full; and various documents from the National Recovery and Reconstruction Unit, where many of the allegations being made against Gibson was said to have originated.

In court, Mr Munroe told Justice Isaacs that he, on several occasions, made formal requests to the prosecution to have the various documents compiled and turned over.

Despite the requests, however, Mr Munroe said there have been no serious attempts to hand the files over to his side. He furthered that the assertion of the prosecution has always been that there is no need to turn over the documents. A point the prosecution team agreed to in court yesterday.

On August 3, Mr Gibson was arraigned in a Magistrate’s Court on 36 bribery and extortion related charges: one count of misconduct in public office, 16 counts of bribery, two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, two counts of conspiracy to commit extortion and 15 counts of extortion – all of these concerned with Jonathan Ash.

The number of bribery and extortion related charges were later decreased to 31, though the amount he is alleged to have solicited from Mr Ash remained the same.

Then just recently, the Crown announced its decision to drop all the extortion charges against the former Golden Gates MP, with the DPP stating at the time that the decision was for the Crown to devote a “singular and simplified focus” on Gibson’s bribery charges.

The matter is adjourned to September 17.

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